Today in OpenGov: Will he or won’t he?


In today's edition, Puerto Rico's governor might resign after all, Robert Mueller will testify before Congress today, President Trump's top lobbyist bundler is cashing in on his ties in DC, and more. 

states and cities

Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló (right) and Florida Governor Rick Scott. Image credit: SAD USACE.
  • Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló is expected to resign today amid increasing pressure. "Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló is expected to resign Wednesday, according to a source familiar with the situation. The person expected to take his place is Puerto Rico Secretary of Justice Wanda Vazquez. This comes only one day after his chief of staff submitted his resignation effective July 31…Protests on the US territory have been ongoing for more than a week — and older protesters said Monday's demonstrations were among the largest they've ever seen." (CNN)
  • How cities across the United States are approaching the growth of algorithms in government. "Can advances in computing help our government better do its job? Across the United States, public officials are betting it can. As they try to incorporate predictive analytics and technology into their operations, each is needing to consider how these non-human actors will be regulated, funded, and made transparent to the public. We looked at five cities and the steps and policies they’ve considered in their adoption of algorithmic tools." (MuckRock)
  • Pennsylvania set to join growing ranks of states with a Chief Data Officer. "Pennsylvania has created a new chief data officer position, posting an openingfor the job online…This type of CDO position is growing in frequency for state governments across the country, with the role becoming so commonplace that a network of CDOs and those with similar job titles has started to coalesce. " (Government Technology)
  • Restaurant reviews can help fill in demographic and economic information in areas where official census data is sparse. "Online review sites can tell you a lot about a city’s restaurant scene, and they can reveal a lot about the city itself, too. Researchers at MIT recently found that information about restaurants gathered from popular review sites can be used to uncover a number of socioeconomic factors of a neighborhood, including its employment rates and demographic profiles of the people who live, work, and travel there." (CityLab)

washington watch

Image via Pixabay.
  • Facing increased scrutiny in Washington, Amazon and Facebook set new lobbying records. "Facebook Inc. and Inc. set records for lobbying in the second quarter as Washington ramped up scrutiny of big technology companies, while Google’s spending dipped as it continued to reshuffle its influence operations. The world’s largest social media site spent more than $4.1 million on lobbying, the most among big internet platforms, an increase from its previous high in the same period a year earlier." (Bloomberg)
  • Robert Mueller will appear before two House committees today. Here are the details. "After two years of silence and one brief public statement, the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, will finally sit for prolonged questioning at two House hearings on Wednesday. Though he has expressed reluctance about testifying and has vowed to discuss only the contents of his 448-page investigation report, his appearances are nonetheless highly anticipated." (New York Times)
  • The Knight Foundation is set to spent $50 million on research around strengthening democracy in the digital age. "With our growing dependence on digital technology threatening to undermine American democracy, the Miami-based Knight Foundation announced Monday it is giving nearly $50 million to universities, research centers, and individual scholars to bolster and develop new fields of research to combat this growing threat…The Knight Foundation will give $5 million each to the following universities that are creating cross-disciplinary research programs analyzing the impact that social media and big data are having on democracy and politics: Carnegie Mellon; George Washington; NYU; the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and the University of Washington." (Government Technology)


The Department of the Interior headquarters in Washington, DC. Image credit: NCinDC.
  • The Interior Department's IG is looking into whether or not top appointees violated open records laws… "The Interior Department’s internal ethics watchdog has opened an investigation into whether top Trump appointees at the agency have violated federal open-record laws by withholding or delaying the release of public documents, emails and policy memos. The investigation by the Interior Department’s Inspector Generalcomes the same day as the separate introduction of a bipartisan Senate bill aimed at overhauling new public-records policies at the Environmental Protection Agency." (New York Times)
  • …Meanwhile, the Interior Department's former head Ryan Zinke is already lining up clients in industries that he regulated while in President Trump's cabinet. "Former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is lining up consulting clients in industries regulated by his former department at the same time he decries the ethics investigations that drove him from the Trump administration…Zinke was a freshman representative from Montana in December 2016 when Donald Trump chose him to run the Interior Department, an $11 billion agency that oversees drilling, mining and other activities on public lands. Now, he’s going to work for oil and mining companies." (Bloomberg)
  • President Trump's top lobbyist bundler is finding a lucrative path through the "swamp" in Washington. "In Washington D.C., some lobbyists like to raise money to make money.  It’s been a successful strategy for Jeff Miller, who raised more than $1 million for President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign from April through June as the only lobbyist to report bundling for the president so far. Miller’s lobbying firm has reaped the rewards of the Trump connection by attracting a number of powerful clients paying up to send their message straight to the Oval Office. Miller Strategies took in $2.1 million in the second quarter of 2019, up from nearly $1.7 million through the first three months of the year. After barely registering on the K Street radar in 2017, the firm broke out last year when it made $5.2 million. It’s now on pace to smash that number." (Center for Responsive Politics)
  • Former Trump transition adviser and Michael Flynn associate convicted on foreign agent charges. "A federal jury on Tuesday convicted Bijan Rafiekian, a former business partner of Michael Flynn, on a pair of foreign-agent felony charges stemming from work the two men did for Turkish interests during the final months of the Trump presidential campaign in 2016. The verdicts, returned by jurors in Alexandria, Va., after a weeklong trial and only about four hours of deliberation, amount to a belated courtroom victory for special counsel Robert Mueller, who investigated the $600,000 lobbying and public relations contract at the heart of the case and then handed the matter off to other federal prosecutors after Flynn’s guilty plea to a false-statement charge in 2017." (POLITICO)


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